Danny Granger

Danny Granger now not expected to return Friday. But soon.


We don’t need to tell you the Pacers are doing just fine without Danny Granger — they have the best record in the NBA (19-3) and knocked off the Miami Heat this week.

Yet with Granger, they either will improve or they will have a potential trade piece to shop around at the deadline (or both).

Granger originally said he expected to make his season debut for the Pacers this Friday, but now those plans have changed as he doesn’t feel ready, reports Scott Agnes of Pacers.com.

“I don’t like where I’m at with my timing and my rhythm and obviously my conditioning,” he said. “…I don’t feel like I’m ready yet. I dribbled the ball off my foot a couple times and just things where you haven’t [been] playing. Lost the ball in transition on a pass. My rhythm isn’t there yet.

“By all means, I could physically play, easily. Like I said, it’s more of a rhythm thing. When you’re playing at those type of speeds, you have to do it for a while to get used to doing it again.”

We’ve heard this same thing from other players lately — they don’t want to get on the court and not feel like they can do the things they expect to do. Still, as we have seen with both Derrick Rose (before the second injury) and Kobe Bryant there still is some rust you can’t shake off in practice.

After the Friday game against Charlotte the Pacers are off for the weekend, then face the Pistons on Monday before traveling to Miami for a rematch on Wednesday. A week from Friday the Houston Rockets come to Indiana.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.

Report: Pelicans signing Greg Smith

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The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.

Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.

Enter Greg Smith.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.

But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.

Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.